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Online vs. In-Person Networking

What’s Going to Happen to In-Person Meetings? 

In our final episode with Sarah Noel Block of Tiny Marketing, we talk about the future of meetings and in-person events. Sadly, she says she foresees a lot more Zoom meetings in our future. We also talk about how many webinars might as well have been recorded videos, and some of the things we’ve seen that make for great interactive webinars. Oh, and you’re not going to want to miss what Sarah has to say about going live!

If you prefer the audio version, listen here:

Ruthie: I can’t believe we’re on our last episode already! I just realized it’s been way too long since the last time I talked to you, Sarah. 

Sarah: We’ve both been busy.

Ruthie: We both have kids at home and that can make meetings like this difficult. I’m an extrovert so I both love and hate Zoom at the same time. I love talking to people in-person and being in a different environment. Zoom and the other apps are as close as I can get to that feeling these days. 

The Future of Meetings

What do you think meetings will be like for the foreseeable future? We’re consultants. We have meetings on a regular basis. We go to networking events and conferences. So what do you think is going to happen to these events? 

Sarah: It’s not going to happen. I’ve been working with Gartner and HubSpot pretty closely and they’ve been doing studies and talking to different companies to find out what their plans are for the future. And the majority are saying they’re not letting vendors in the building, and they’re not doing in-person meetings. It’s still going to be video. So it looks like we have to get comfortable with Zoom and buy stock. 

Ruthie: No, I think the time to buy stock has come and gone now that Zoom acquired Keybase to get end-to-end encryption. I missed the boat on that one, I guess. 

Sarah: Same. 


How Do You Think Networking Is Going to Change? 

Ruthie: So how do you think networking is going to change? I imagine LinkedIn is just about to hit its platinum era. 

Sarah: Yeah, we were loving LinkedIn already. But now everyone else is going to realize its value, especially people who were like, “Nah, it’s not for me. I hate social media.” Now being on social media is your only option. LinkedIn is how you get to know people. Also, the new update for Google Meets is going to be huge for people! As for Zoom, it’s going to keep taking up 4 hours of our every day. 

Ruthie: You’re not kidding. 

The Lack of Interactivity in Most Webinars

Ruthie: So I was thinking about how I don’t sit through a lot of webinars. This is mostly because the companies who want me to sign up for them don’t do a good job of convincing me that it’s a good use of my 60 mins. Every time I see one, I’m like, “Oh, you just did a terrible job.” Not that I would tell them that, but these webinar platforms are killing me. 

Sarah: Oh, I have so many stories of poor webinar platforms. 

Ruthie: I just feel like they’re growing. Zoom also has a webinar platform, in addition to the meetings. But Zoom meetings are the next best thing, other than in-person meetings. 

I did a webinar 2 months ago in Zoom and everybody could see each other. There was a chat and people could talk to each other. And the feedback I got was, “Hey, I loved that! Other webinars I was in didn’t do that.” At first, I didn’t understand what they meant… and then I sat through one. It felt like I was in a room by myself. 

Creating Networking Opportunities for Attendees

Sarah: Yes, I’ve noticed that too! It really feels like you’re just watching a video because it’s not interactive. It doesn’t feel like a networking event. 

Ruthie: No, and I think that’s a missed opportunity. In my webinar, I told everybody to drop their LinkedIn link in the chat. 

Sarah: That’s brilliant! That was such a good idea. 

Ruthie: Yeah. I created a space for people to connect with each other, and they did! I’m still hearing feedback about how people are continuing to work with the people they met. 

Sarah: You did a huge thing for a lot of people and it was so simple. 

Ruthie: A lot of these webinar platforms don’t allow the participants to talk to each other, and that’s why I favor Zoom meetings. If the host says something interesting, I’m that person in the chat who’s got their sideline commentary going. Don’t deny me my opportunity for sideline commentary! 

Sarah: It’s the only one you have right now as an extrovert. 

Ruthie: Yes! I was on a phone call with somebody who had just gone live on Facebook. Right before they got on the phone call with me, they were talking with their partner and saying, “Holy crap, we just got 18 comments on our last Facebook Live and it was only 30 minutes long!” I was only in there for the last 15 minutes, so I was like, “Oh yeah, that was me.” He said, “All those comments were you? My partner loved it!” 

Sarah: Oh yeah, live is going to be huge too. 

What’s Worthy of Going Live?

Ruthie: Now that you brought that up, how do I do live? I’m not lost on the technical idea for live; I know how to push the button and go live. But what is worthy of going live? I sit through some lives and I’m like, “Uhhh…” But other lives really inspire me to do something similar. 

I have yet to go live, even on my personal Facebook page. I think I went live once, and that was just because my kid wanted to talk to people. Do you have any tips or insights? I had never done a webinar before either, until I did that one about 6 weeks ago. And it was because I never felt I had a good enough reason to do it. 

Sarah: Yeah, why create something that it just feels like fluff? I completely agree with you. I think the best lives are the ones that teach you something that will help your business. 

I think that’s because people are scared right now. They don’t know how to adapt to what today looks like. So anytime you can teach something, you’re going to get a reaction. People are going to be grateful and want to interact with you. 

What’s Your Top Tip for Making Online Networking More Effective? 

Ruthie: Okay. Well we totally got off topic, but I think that everybody’s really gonna like that. So for my last question, I just wanted to ask you what your top tip for making online networking more effective is. What do you think is a really standout way to make this better? 

Sarah: Let’s see… I would say be a real person. A lot of us put on our business face and try to be perfect anytime we’re representing our business. But nobody’s perfect. We’re all people, and I don’t think other people are attracted to perfect little businesses. They want to see a real person. So authenticity is important. 

Be yourself and interact with other people. When someone is doing something great, talk about it, promote them, help them raise up so other people can find them. Be a good person and people will like you for that. 

A Great Time to Explore Video Marketing

Ruthie: I would say that’s prime advice right there! It reminds me of my first LinkedIn video, which I did not long ago. This was at the end of April, so things weren’t going great for me. But that video got around 1500 views. which was great for me. I just did it because I thought, “Who knows who else might be feeling this way?” 

I had just left a virtual event where everybody was high on something they were all passing around and I didn’t get any of it. That’s a metaphor, but they were just like, “Woo! We’re going to take this adversity and transform it!” And I thought, “I’m in the wrong meeting.” 

Sarah: This is not my state of mind right now. 

Ruthie: I have not transformed adversity. Adversity is chewing on me right now! That’s why I made that video. How many other people were sitting in that meeting thinking, “Y’all are extra! This is too much.” Either people love it or they’ll hate it, and it turned out most people loved it. Nobody commented saying that they hated it, and I realized that I was not being as authentic as I could be. 

These podcasts interviews are also really good for me because everybody I’ve talked to is somebody I know/has been referred to me. I’m not just running people off the street. I’ve already talked to you and I’m comfortable with you. That’s the key right there. 

Sarah: I get that. When I first started doing these, I was just so tense. I think it was because I didn’t really know them. But I know you; I’ve been talking to you on LinkedIn forever! 

Ruthie: I know. It’s been like a year and a half. 

Sarah: We’ve worked together too. There’s a comfort level. 

Ruthie: There is, and I think that’s going to come through in this content, which is great for both of us. It allows us to really show our personalities. We’re 2 distinct people, but we pride ourselves on a lot of the same things. That’s wonderful. 

Sarah: Yeah, it is. 

Where Can People Find You?

Ruthie: But our time together has come to an end, so I want to make sure that people can find you. Go find Sarah on LinkedIn and anywhere else she’s posting content because you don’t want to miss any of it. Do you have a preferred platform, or are you kind of just everywhere? 

Sarah: I’m a little bit everywhere. I like LinkedIn the most. If you reach out to me there, I will see it, whereas if you reach me on Twitter I might not see you. But you can find me anywhere. Just search for Sarah Noel Block. 

Ruthie: And your website, right? We’ll have all of those things in the show notes. I’ll also have Sarah’s lead magnet in the show notes on all of the episodes. That tech stack is gold, so be sure to check it out. 

Get Sarah’s Tiny Tech Stack here!

Because when I was setting my stuff up, I did not do that level of research. Now it’s been a few years and I know better, but I’m the cobbler with holes in their shoes and the dentist with cavities in their mouth. 

Sarah: Oh trust me, it took me 5 years of researching different tech platforms to come up with this particular list that all plays well together and is cheap. 

Ruthie: So make sure that you check it out because you’re getting the benefit of her 5 years of experience. That’s just incredibly valuable to me. Thank you so much for building and sharing it, because more people need it. 

Sarah: Thank you. 

Ruthie: So if this is the first time you’re catching one of Sarah’s interviews, there’s a whole series. We keep them short, so you can do them piecemeal. But if you have the time, go ahead and listen to them all the way through. You’re going to get a ton of valuable information. Thank you so much for joining us today, Sarah. 

Sarah: Thank you.